We want to prepare a new framework for assessing the quality of scientific activity in the amendment to the Higher Education and Science Act planned for this spring, Deputy Minister of Education and Science Włodzimierz Bernacki said in an interview with PAP.

In October, the president of MEiN, Przemysław Czarnek, announced that two amendments to the Higher Education and Science Act – a small one in the fall and a major one – were planned for next spring.

Deputy Education and Science Minister Włodzimierz Bernacki said in an interview with PAP that the Spring Adjustment will likely be a government ministerial project.

“We would like to prepare a framework for a new assessment of the quality of scientific activity. We are aware of all the weaknesses related to the functioning of this system” – he said.

The Higher Education and Science Act (in force since October 1, 2018) has introduced new provisions on assessment that takes place every few years, including for universities. The assessment awards scientific categories in individual scientific disciplines. These categories depend on, among other things, the possibility of conducting general academic studies and the amount of subsidies that research units receive from the state budget. The new assessment format covered the years 2017-2021 and will begin on January 1, 2022.

Minister Bernaki acknowledged that major changes were to be made to the evaluation regulations.

“We want society to learn as soon as possible what the new assessment criteria will be, starting in 2022. In my opinion, the current system and standards do not fully reflect the image of the Polish flag” – he emphasized.

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He added that the next assessment should be simpler. “Our goal will also be to remove the rampant point,” he added. In this way, the pressure of collection points for scientific publications in academia is determined.

The Deputy Minister also said that there are two amendments planned for the fall: one will be a government project, and the other – he said – parliamentary and academic.

He said, “The government project is the ministry’s response to concerns regarding the moment of assessing the quality of scientific activity (it will start in January 2022 – PAP)”.

One of the changes concerns the work of doctoral schools. Doctoral students who study in doctoral schools of universities that will lose their right to take it will have the opportunity to complete their studies there and defend their doctoral thesis.

“This means that the evaluation criteria for doctoral schools will be lowered only in relation to recruitment that has already been completed” – he specified. However, it will not be possible to continue employment.

The second change under this draft amendment concerns 10 winning research universities in the Excellence Initiative – Research University Competition. These are the best Polish universities that receive additional funding. In the years 2020-2026, they will receive a 10% subsidy.

The deputy minister explained that “some of these universities may receive a lower category as part of the assessment, for example in new majors, after which they can no longer participate in this program. We want to prevent this from happening.”

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The Fall’s Second Amendment will be – as Bernacki has described – a parliamentary and academic novel. “It’s 20 pages of print. It contains many indisputable technical issues, but it allows for the removal of obstacles and enables work in this legal system,” MEiN Vice President said.

He cited one example. To date, the statutory list of National Agency for Academic Exchange (NAWA) beneficiaries must be published. “It was not expected, however, that this could have so negative consequences for the citizens of Belarus. Now we want to change this requirement” – he added.

Author: Szymon Zdziebijowski

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